At Longacre we teach Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) to all children from the age of four as part of the normal school curriculum as we believe that the children really enjoy learning to speak another language. The earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language the better as young children tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. It is widely believed that the early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other foreign languages later in life.
The main objective of teaching a modern foreign language at Longacre is to promote the early development of a child’s linguistics competence.
French is taught from Reception to Form VI by specialist language teachers. In Reception to Form II, Little Languages is taught as an introduction to modern foreign languages. Form III upwards is supported by La Jolie Ronde, which is a unique scheme of work for introducing young children to the everyday realities of the country and its culture.
The fundamental skills for French language learning are categorised into four attainment targets:
- Listening and responding
- Reading and responding
Whilst all four skills are introduced from Reception onwards, greater emphasis is placed upon progression with listening and speaking. Reading skills need to be developed simultaneously with speaking skills; at a slower pace, and always after intensive listening and speaking practice.
Most forms of writing in French at Longacre will involve variations of copy writing. Children in Forms V and VI will be able to adapt and substitute words and phrases in a model text, in order to produce their own short pieces of writing. The French curriculum is organised into topics.
The emphasis in our teaching of French is, as far as possible, on first-hand experience. We encourage children increasingly to take control of their own learning. Therefore, pupils are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge gained from holidays in French speaking countries.
All pupils in Forms III, IV, V and VI study Spanish as an additional language to French in the Summer Term. Spanish teaching is based on a comprehensive scheme of work from La Jolie Ronde and the topics are relevant and useful for pupils hoping to visit Spain.
This again focuses on the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Lessons are fast-paced, practical and involve activities such as role play, action songs, games or short written activities. The emphasis is very much on learning the basic conversational Spanish used in everyday life.